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Observational study on the guanidino-acetic acid (GAA) related pathways in peripartal sows in association with farrowing duration and neonatal piglet survival and development

Grant number: 21/07109-4
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Master's degree
Effective date (Start): December 06, 2021
Effective date (End): June 05, 2022
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Veterinary Medicine - Animal Reproduction
Principal Investigator:Cesar Augusto Pospissil Garbossa
Grantee:Rafaella Fernandes Carnevale
Supervisor: Dominiek Maes
Host Institution: Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia (FMVZ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Ghent University (UGent), Belgium  
Associated to the scholarship:19/23320-7 - Oral administration of an energetic supplement for farrowing sows and its impact on farrowing kinetics and piglet mortality until weaning, BP.MS


The extended duration of farrowing and other peripartal problems appear as an outcome of intensive breeding for prolificacy in the pig. Nutrition is a valuable tool that can be used to prevent these problems and to optimize the peripartal health of the sows and the health, survival and performance of the neonatal piglets. Guanidinoacetic acid (GAA) is the precursor of creatine. Creatine is essential for muscle contraction, including the uterus. Thus, it is an obvious factor to study in sows in the peripartal period, and in highly prolific sows with a prolonged duration of the farrowing process. The present study aims to investigate different amino acids, enzymes and metabolites involved in the guanidinoacetic acid (GAA) related pathways and to associate them with farrowing duration and neonatal piglet survival and development. Fifteen sows will be included in the study, they will be monitored for backfat thickness, feed intake, rectal temperature, duration of farrowing and birth assistance. Blood samples will be collected at entrance of the farrowing crate at 1 and 14 days after farrowing, and at weaning. Also, colostrum sample and milk sample at day 14 will be collected. The piglets will be weighed at birth, after 24 hours, at 14 and at weaning and will be monitored for viability, mortality and antimicrobial use. Blood samples of one piglet from each sow will be collected at 1 and 14 days after birth and at weaning. All plasma, milk and colostrum samples will be submitted to a targeted metabolomics assay. The acylcarnitine profile will be measured to verify the nutrients used as energy substrates. Malondialdehyde will be measured in sow plasma through spectrophotometry to explain the interindividual or time differences in GAA-related metabolism and its association with farrowing duration. Finally, composition of farrowing, lactating feed and water will be analyzed.

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